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July 28, 2010

Justin Rose


STEVE TODD: Justin, thanks very much for joining us. A bit of a wet day, I know you haven't had a chance to look at the course, but a lot of players are saying it's quite a scorable course; you've obviously been in a great run of form lately, your thoughts coming into this week.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I'm excited to be back in Europe. I always enjoy coming back to play here obviously. Yeah, the Irish Open, there's a great buzz around town, really, is the way I see it. First time to Killarney. Didn't really know what to expect at all but it's just a great little buzz about the place. I think it's going to be a fun week.
From my perspective, I haven't really done much since The Open golf-wise, hardly touched a club, so that could work for me or against me this week. We'll have to wait and see, but the important thing is it's a very busy run of golf coming up now; so that's been part of the decision.
Still, feeling good. Working on my short game the last couple of days and getting my touch going and my caddie had a good look at the course, and like you say, it's a scorable golfs course. But it's a golf course that by all accounts you can't really force your hand on. There's a few certainly tricky holes out there. I think a good game plan and strategy is going to be essential this week.
STEVE TODD: You've been in fantastic form in America, two wins; what would it mean for you to get a win back in Europe?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, sure, certainly, it would be icing on the cake. Winning is winning no matter where it comes. I don't think it's necessarily any easier to win in Europe or the States or in Asia. You still go through the same emotions and the same feelings down the stretch.
So there's no doubt, I mean, people have said winning can become a habit; so the more you can get yourself into contention and the more you give yourself an opportunity, the better. Like I said, it would be great to win here and it's just great to keep winning no matter where those wins come.

Q. Graeme McDowell suggested 59 is a possibility this week on this course. What's your own thoughts about that?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, yeah, I mean, the reason I didn't play yesterday is actually I've been sort of struggling with the old cold, man flu my wife called it, so I didn't go out there yesterday.
So it's hard to really, really comment on that. Guys are good. And you know, there was a 59 in America at the John Deere, Carl Pettersson lipped out for 59 in Canada. So it shows that if the course is in any way vulnerable, and normally by that, generally soft conditions is what make a course vulnerable, it just takes one guy to get hot.
Obviously G-Mac is in fine form, if that's the way he see things, which is good. But I think it depends on pin placements. By looking at the yardage book, it looks like there's little bowls and a lot of areas where you could feed the ball into if the pin was placed there you could feed the ball in. But if you start putting the pins up on the high spots on the greens, I think it will make it a very different test.

Q. Was it only at St. Andrews that you decided to play here?
JUSTIN ROSE: No. As soon as I got back into the Top-50 in the world, I was playing here. I'm up against it a little bit in terms of getting my 12 in the rest of the year. So by being here this week, it was -- well, I had to be here really in order to have a chance to get my 12 in.

Q. How are you going to do that?
JUSTIN ROSE: This is my fourth, yeah. So it's going to be hard work, but --

Q. You've worked it out that you can do it?
JUSTIN ROSE: It's numerically possible, yes.

Q. Is there room for investigation of The Ryder Cup points system; that if you win, out of three tournaments you play in the States you win two of them, finish second in the other one and you're still not on The Ryder Cup Team, does that strike you as a little strange?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, one, it shows how far I was behind. Two, it shows I think how good the golf has been played by Westwood, McDowell, the lads who are in there, played phenomenal golf for a long period of time. I think it's probably been, dare I say, I think I made a comment last time about The Ryder Cup, I got the points wrong but I may make another bad comment here; but could be hardest team to ever have gotten into on the World Points list. I think because if you just look at the World Rankings how strong European golf is, those guys accrued so many points in the last year that it's been a very hard team to make in terms of that top four.

Q. So you don't think the points should be loaded in favour of current form?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think the decision is -- in America they do it over a two-year period and we do it over a one-year period. It's a two-year qualification process over there and we only have one year, you can look at that one year being current.
Maybe there would be a case to say like they do double points in majors or something, but I don't necessarily think so. I think you've got to -- again, that doesn't give guys who are not in the majors a realistic chance to get on the team either, so I think it's a fair system now.

Q. Are you a shoe-in for a wild card if you need one?
JUSTIN ROSE: Certainly not, no. There's six or seven guys who are very, very realistic possibilities for wild cards and that means obviously 50 per cent chance or less. There's going to be some disappointed guys this year I think and guys who should be or consider themselves to be Ryder Cup players who may not play this year.

Q. Nobody else has won twice in America.
JUSTIN ROSE: No, sure, but I really don't know. I have a great opportunity to qualify on my own, so that's as far as I'm really looking at it to be honest with you.
I think the more realistic wild card options that play well in the next few weeks will make Monty's decision easier should a few players play their way on to the team.

Q. Obviously you want to be on The Ryder Cup Team, that goes without saying but how desperate are you to be on the team? How much of a disappointment would it be if you were not on the team?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it would be very disappointing. I had a fantastic time at Valhalla on a losing team away. So to play on a home team and have the opportunity to win The Ryder Cup, would be incredible.
I mean, yeah, like I said, to be on a losing Ryder Cup Team and still have had an amazing experience just shows you how -- it just says to me how great that week could be if we played it in Wales and won it and the vibe and the atmosphere that will be created; and I feel that's a team that I really, really want to be a part of.

Q. People have said this is the strongest European side and you said maybe the hardest team to get into; is there a danger of expectation, I don't think complacency, but expectation that Europe is going to win this Ryder Cup? Is there a danger?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think it happened last year even, we went in being favourites on paper for possibly the first time and didn't win. The European Team had a great run in the late 90s, early 2000s where we were still the underdogs but we were winning The Ryder Cup.
The teams are so tightly -- it's such a hard-fought competition that it's always going to be tight. It's the team that goes in with the best desire and attitude and hunger is generally going to be the team that is going to win. Underdogs are going to fight harder. So there certainly won't be complacency from that perspective from the players.

Q. Do you think it's reasonable to suggest that players of your standard are spoiled for choice in terms of where you can play; how does one sell a tournament like this? You're here, obviously, but how does one sell a tournament like this to players of your standing internationally?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think the date is very important and I think the venue is very important. I think coming here you know it's going to be a well-supported tournament and it's going to be a good vibe and you're going to play in front of a good crowd. That's an exciting prospect for a player.
Yeah, I think to know that you're going to play in a tournament, also, to a certain level with decent World Ranking points available and all those sorts of things, those are the factors that a lot of times make your decision.

Q. Is there anything extra that you think organisers or sponsors could do to entice you? There is the beauty of this place, obviously, as well?
JUSTIN ROSE: Exactly. I think so much is done for us to be honest with you, and I think if we asked for anymore, you start to get spoiled. I think you've just got to realise the money that goes onto putting on and staging these events is not a bottomless pit. So at the end of the day I think everybody has been taken good care of this week. You couldn't ask for anymore.

Q. How big of a letdown was St. Andrews?
JUSTIN ROSE: You know, yeah, it was a letdown. It was disappointing. But I've been around long enough to know that if you're willing to accept the good, you've got to accept the bad. I was more willing to enjoy the good results. On the flipside, there's going to be occasions where you're going to be disappointed but I'm not going to worry or dwell on it. I'm going to move on. That's golf. That's the nature of it.
I think a little bit, I was caught on the wrong end of the draw but more importantly I wasn't seeing my shots. It wasn't really happening. I think the 30-mile-an-hour crosswinds we were playing in, I was just having a hard time really visualising the shot I wanted to hit and just really feeling the conditions that I was playing in. I just had a hard time translating it that week, which is a shame. Yeah, just everything just wasn't quite sharp.
Mentally I was up for the challenge, but it just wasn't really -- it's hard to explain why sometime it doesn't translate. But yeah, I started off great. I think if I look back at it, in hindsight, I didn't really realise how easy the course was playing that day. I felt 3-, 4-, 5-under in the back of my mind would still be a solid start. I didn't realise that 9 was necessarily on the cards; because I played all my practise rounds in such tough conditions, I thought this course is going to be a great test that week and ended up being the opposite really, especially that first day. I guess I got my strategy a little bit wrong.
Ultimately I didn't make the most of an easy day, and then got caught up in a tough second round and didn't have enough of a buffer or cushion. As soon as you found yourself on the cut line, it's a hard situation to play, you're buffeted around on four-footers. It was difficult, but, yeah, I think the first day was ultimately starting off birdie, birdie and not capitalising on that was the problem.

Q. With an American major to come and The Ryder Cup situation, will you say these next three weeks including this week are probably the most important of your career so far?
JUSTIN ROSE: No, I wouldn't. There's a lot to play for but I think my attitude to the game right now is I'm not putting any time frame or time ceiling on it right now. Each week is important as the next in terms of me progressing, moving forward and learning. That doesn't necessarily mean that I have to have good results in order to do that.
So really I'm looking at my game in terms of the next ten years. I'm really not trying to put time frames and pressures on myself in that perspective. If things go well -- even if I win my first major in a couple of weeks' time, I don't think that will be the most important week of my career.
I think it's important to look at it like that. I've got the whole FedExCup thing, a realistic chance there, I'm third right now so there's a lot to play for in the next six, eight weeks, and I have a lot of hard work to qualify on The European Tour for The Race to Dubai and things like that. It's loaded wherever I look right now. But the point is, to play my best golf and even winning the two tournaments in the States, I did that because of focussing on my process and keeping things simple and controlling what I can control.
So I think that's really important not to lose sight of that now by having all of these opportunities ahead of me. I've still got to keep it very -- keep the framework very tight of what I have to work on.

Q. When are you next in Europe?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think it will be -- let's assume everything goes well and I would love to play Ryder Cup, it would be Ryder Cup followed by I guess maybe Dunhill and that sort of time. After the FedExCup basically. I won't play in the States again after the FedEx, I'll be focussed this side.

Q. When you see a guy like Pádraig Harrington, three times Major Champion, doesn't win for two years, everybody in his homeland starts second guessing him, saying what's wrong, pressure is getting to him, what's that like? What's the sort of approach? And are you surprised that even by winning major championships, you never get away from it?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it is a tough -- but I think it's what you expect at the highest level in professional sports and our job is very different to your job and I think we have to accept that, we work closely together. But you have a different job to put across than what we need to think about.
Before I went on that good-month spell, I knew my game was exactly where I wanted it. I couldn't tell you why. I couldn't justify it to you. I just knew I didn't need to change anything and all of a sudden it happened for me.
I think if you start panicking about not having won and you start trying harder, things, they get further away from you. I think he's very smart in the way that he looks at things and strategises things, and I think he knows exactly where he's at right now. I read the comment, he's had more Top-10s in a year than he probably ever has had, and that's a good sign of consistent, good golf. And it takes a week's luck to get across the line, a good bounce here, a good bounce there and you feed off that and suddenly you're in top form again.
So I think it's important not to chase things and try too hard. I think that's what I did and that's what served me well and he is probably in exactly the same scenario right now.

Q. Keep the faith.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, no doubt about it. It's a fickle game, but I think he, better than anybody, over the last ten years has realised what's important and that is getting better every single day, every single week, working and working and working. And I think that never changes, even when you're three-time Major Champion, the love for the game and the work ethic, that never changes. And that's what has never changed in him and what ultimately will stand him in good stead this week, next week or the week after, you never know.
STEVE TODD: Thank you.

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